High rates of failure are reported for software development projects and top management support has been identified as a critical factor in avoiding such failure and achieving project success. However, there has been little in-depth examination of what exactly is meant by “top management support”. The purpose of this paper is to redress this gap in the literature and to develop a framework that treats top management support as one characterization of the overall relationship between project and senior (top) management. An initial framework was developed from the existing literature and then explored through data gathered from an exploratory study with interviews in five organizations. The conclusion drawn was that the framework has validity in showing top management support as a relational concept, with ten important attributes of the relationship being communication, documentation, leadership, decision making, governance structures, governance processes, resourcing, education, managerial engagement and time management.